Many of you are aware of the recent interview with Bishop Richard Williamson on Swedish television. Suffice it to say that the bishop’s remarks represent the worst of thought and culture sometimes found in SSPX circles. I do not believe such ideas are common among those who attend SSPX chapels, but considering Williamson’s influence in the seminaries, they are not exactly marginal either.
Bishop Williamson is a brilliant man, but like many brilliant men he is slightly off his rocker. Bishop Fellay, on the other hand, has always seemed much more level-headed, balanced and thoughtful. Hence, I am disappointed in Bishop Fellay’s response to the interview:
If it is “shameful to use an interview on religious matters to introduce secular and controversial issues”, is it not equally shameful for Bishop Williamson to use religious contexts to do the same? Bishop Williamson has been using religious events, sermons, confirmations, etc., to promote his opinions about secular and controversial issues for a long time.
I don’t understand how the interviewer or the television station can be faulted here. The bishop did all of the talking, freely and without coercion, knowing the context very well. He could simply have stated that his views on the holocaust are not relevent to his religious mission in Sweden and he doesn’t want to discuss them. However, I think his views are indeed relevant, as they give insight into the kind of thinking that the SSPX tolerates and perhaps even encourages.
I don’t know much about the holocaust beyond what I was taught in grade school. But it does not seem possible for a propaganda campaign to deceive virtually all of Europe and America into believing that 6,000,000 Jews perished rather than 300,000, and that none were killed in gas chambers when there is obviously no shortage of witnesses. That’s some conspiracy. It is likely, in my opinion, that believing in such a conspiracy is not possible without grave moral fault – fault in denying the truth of human nature, and fault in imputing the worst possible motives to vast numbers of witnesses, survivors, and historians. The moral character of a Catholic bishop is not unimportant. The interviewer was right, in my opinion, to ask the bishop to clarify his views so as to more clearly ascertain the bishop’s character, and to avoid rash judgment based on statements made elsewhere.